By Nathan Jones
What does the Bible actually have to say about celestial signs?
Ever since 2008 when a pastor from Tacoma, Washington by the name of Mark Biltz announced that he had discovered an astronomical phenomenon that might point to the date of the Lord's return, there has been much hoopla over what he calls the Blood Moon phenomenon. The resulting Blood Moon mania has simply swept Christendom over the past few years, causing some to conclude that a significant prophetic event will befall the world in September 2015.
Dr. David Reagan and I will discuss this theory and answer the question above on our latest Christ in Prophecy television episode. Watch below or click an icon above for a mp3 and transcript.
Dr. Reagan: We need to emphasize the point that the Bible does teach that there are signs that can occur in the heavens that can have some spiritual significance. In fact, the Bible begins by stating that, doesn't it?
Nathan Jones: Yes, the Bible does frequently talk about signs in the skies. Because these phenomenon have and will occur, people are as a result taking these Blood Moons really seriously. Let's look Genesis 1:14, "And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. And let them serve as signs to mark seasons, and days and years.'"
Dr. Reagan: That was the fourth day of Creation. God put the lights in the heavens and He said that they are there to be signs as well as seasons for us. So, there are celestial signs God provides. For example, the one that comes to mind immediately would be the special star in the heavens that led the Magi all the way from Iran down to Bethlehem. That would be a special sign in the heavens.
Nathan Jones: The Star of Bethlehem, exactly.
Dr. Reagan: Or, I think of the special sign that occurred when Jesus was crucified. There was a total eclipse and total darkness followed by a great earthquake. Those are signs from the heavens. Plus, Jesus told us that we are to watch for signs in the end times, and a great variety of them are signs that come from the heavens.
I am reading from Luke 21:24 where it says, "They will fall by the edge of the sword and will be led captive into all the nations and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles." Jesus is talking about the Jews here. Then in verse 25 He says, "And there will signs in the sun, and moon, and stars and upon the earth dismay among nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves." Now He's talking about the Second Coming of Jesus in particular. So, at the Second Coming of Jesus, there's going to be some spectacular signs in the heavens. This is also mentioned in a number of places in the Bible.
Therefore, it's not crazy to say, "Let us look at a particular sign" or "Here is a sign that is going to occur and maybe something is going to occur as a result of that sign, but it's just that this particular sign is not something that has never occurred before. Rather, it is something that has occurred in the past."
But, again, only one Feast Tetrad was spot on out of eight times. Only one was an omen of something great that was going to occur in Israel.
Nathan Jones: With all the Blood Moon mania going on as of late, there must be something major happening related to the Jewish people. What is going on right now that would concern a Feast Tetrad?
Dr. Reagan: We are indeed in the midst of a Feast Tetrad, one that Pastor Mark Biltz has been talking about. It is the only tetrad falling on Jewish feasts that is going to occur in this century, according to the calculations of NASA. That's the reason that Biltz is putting so much emphasis upon this particular tetrad.
As a reminder, a tetrad is when we have four total lunar eclipses, or Blood Moons, in a row over a period of two years. A Feast Tetrad is when you have a tetrad that falls on Jewish feasts.
We are in the midst of a Feast Tetrad right now, falling in 2014-2015. The first total lunar eclipse started in April 15, 2014 on the Feast of Passover. The second one was on October 8, 2014. The third one has already occurred on April 4, 2015 of this year on the Feast of Passover. The final one of the four Blood Moons is supposed to occur on September 28, 2015 at the Feast of Tabernacles.
Right now we are on the very threshold of the fourth Blood Moon in this Feast Tetrad. That's the reason that there's this great expectation that something very significant is going to occur in either Israel or in the whole world.
You've got to keep in mind that when this Blood Moon Theory was first discovered by Mark Biltz, there was a lot of talk that this tetrad pointed to the Second Coming of Jesus. People have backed away from that claim, and most have, and now are talking instead about it just being a major event that will occur in Israel. Certainly this tetrad is not pointing to the Second Coming of Jesus.
Nathan Jones: Is that your conclusion then that those who are saying this tetrad is going to bring about the Second Coming of Jesus are incorrect?
Dr. Reagan: Right, no, I don't think this tetrad is marking the Second Coming at all. You could give us some reasons why this tetrad is not going to be the Second Coming.
Nathan Jones: I think those who look at this tetrad being significant to the Second Coming of Jesus either put the Rapture at the Second Coming, or they don't believe in any Rapture at all.
For the Second Coming of Jesus to happen, you'd have to have seven years of Tribulation upon this earth. Then you have all the events of the Tribulation that must occur. You have to have the Rapture of the Church happen before the Tribulation. You have to have the Antichrist rising into becoming the one-world leader. You have to have God's 21 judgments fall upon the world. You'd have to have seven years pass in order to have Jesus Christ return. There are a tremendous number of events that have to happen before the return of Jesus Christ. Therefore, there's no way that Jesus is going to return by September of 2015, unless it's the Rapture of the Church, and that is a whole separate event from the Second Coming.
Dr. Reagan: Furthermore, I think we need to emphasize the fact that the Bible teaches over and over that we cannot know the date of the Lord's return.
Nathan Jones: No, not at all according to Jesus in Matthew 24:36,44.
Dr. Reagan: We can know the general season, because we are given signs to watch out for, but we cannot know the date of the Lord's return. In fact, when Mark Biltz first came up with this concept, he was challenged on that point. He very strongly defended the idea of date-setting because of the fact that the Feast of Tabernacles had a rather indecisive date and people didn't know for sure when it would exactly occur. Biltz gave many, many arguments to support the fact that you really could know the general date. Later on, Biltz backed off that claim and he hasn't emphasized that in his recent teachings. But, there are still some people who think that maybe this September 28th could be the date of the Lord's return.
Nathan Jones: This teaching came out of the Hebrew Roots Movement though, right?
Dr. Reagan: Yes, it did. It came out of the Hebrew Roots Movement which unfortunately is a Judaizing movement trying to get Christians to live under the Mosaic Law.
Sure, it is legitimate to look out for signs in the heavens, but this tetrad is a sign that has no validity in the past except for one time — the Six Day War — and that war actually fell in the middle of the tetrad. We've got one Feast Tetrad out of eight that has any significance. Again, that's not very good odds.
There is a reason why people associate this year's total lunar eclipse with the Second Coming, and it's a very good reason. Not only does Luke 21:24 tell us there are going to be supernatural phenomenon in the heavens, but one of the greatest of passages on celestial signs is found over in the Minor Prophets, and that's in the book of Joel. In Joel 2:30 the prophet makes a very interesting comment. God is speaking there about the Second Coming of the Messiah. He says, "I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes." So, very definitely supernatural phenomenon in the heavens, but this passage is not talking about the Feast Tetrads. Joel is talking about a supernatural event. Joel is not referring to some natural phenomenon. And why is that? Because it is impossible for there to be a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse at the same time.
Nathan Jones: "Why is that?" some might ask. Well, you need sunlight to create a shadow on the moon.
Dr. Reagan: Well, yes, it's just not possible to black out the sun and still have a lunar eclipse. The result is that Joel has to be describing a supernatural phenomenon which God Himself orchestrates and produces in the heavens during the Second Coming of Jesus. It's not some natural phenomenon that has occurred in the past and is going to continue to occur again in the future. We need to keep that in mind at least with regard to the idea of some sort of natural phenomenon being a sign of the end times. This reference in Joel to the Second Coming is supernatural in nature.
I think that your point is very important concerning whether this tetrad could be pointing to the Second Coming of Jesus. We've got to have a literal interpretation of the Bible first off, which tells us the world will face a period of seven years called the Tribulation that has to occur before Jesus' Second Coming.
When this point was first brought out after Biltz first proposed his theory, people immediately responded by saying, "Hey, Mark, there has to be a seven-year period of Tribulation." He responded like, "Well, the Second Coming could happen because this is January of 2008. The Tribulation then could begin in September or the fall of 2008, so count forward seven years and you get 2015."
Nathan Jones: There you go. The time has passed, so not anymore could we fit in the Tribulation.
Dr. Reagan: Biltz even put an article to that effect on his website. Later on, when the Tribulation did not begin, he backed off that and began to talk more in terms about this tetrad being some major event that would occur in Israel. One thing I would point out is that you are not taking any big risks whatsoever if you say in the future in this two-year period of time from 2014-2015 something important is going to happen in Israel.
Nathan Jones: Every day something important happens in Israel!
Dr. Reagan: Important things are happening there all time, and even more so now than ever before because all of end time prophecy focusing upon Israel. The whole world is focusing on Israel. The Bible like in Zechariah says that in the end times the whole world is going to come against Israel, and that includes the United States. That's just what we are seeing today. More and more major events are going to occur in Israel. So, nobody takes a chance if they claim, "I say to you in this two year period of time in the future something important is going to happen in Israel." I agree! Something important will happen in Israel. So, again, there's really no big risk here of saying something big is going to happen and it will happen to fall on a feast day.
In the third segment of our study of the Blood Moon phenomenon, Dr. Reagan and I will look at other sensationalist prophecies that of course didn't come true.